By Jon Ewbank Manchip White
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Extra info for A World Elsewhere: Life in the American Southwest (Southwest Landmark, No 8)
It seems a sort of betrayal that the Lord Mayor of London should have traveled five thousand miles, with his gold chain of office, his beaver hat and scarlet robes, to perform an "ening ceremony" staged by the chain-saw tycoon who is the founder of Havasu Cityif such a shabby litter can be called a city. By such actions England can claim her share of the "collective mediocrity" which Toqueville regarded as the main hazard of democratic government, and of which Havasu City is such a melancholy example.
It is easy to guess from his geological fantasies of the 1930s how such a landscape must have impressed him. In such canvases as Vox Angelica, and the celebrated L'oeil du silence, the presence of Arizona is palpable. Their images express Page 17 the indwelling spirit of naturemysterious, inexplicable, neither to be questioned nor ever rendering an answer. Glen Canyon, too, is softened by the presence of water. A dam, 500 feet deep and 180 river-miles long, represents another determined attempt by man to improve on nature's imperfections.
Oppenheimer and his colleagues have considered they were invoking? I keep a fragment of trinitite on my desk, to remind me of what the distilled essence of evil looks like. The Spaniards used to call this waterless and Apache-infested stretch of the great Camino real that linked Mexico City to Santa Fe the Jornada del Muerto, the Journey of the Dead Man. They had hit upon a name more prophetic than they knew. Today, nothing is to be seen of the Trinity Site but the remains of the tower and a twelve-foot obelisk of lava blocks raised to commemorate the event by a proud commander of the White Sands Missile Range.